Southwest approved for flights to Hawaii from California

  • FILE - In this Sept. 4, 2013 file photo, a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 takes off, rear, as another taxis in the north runway complex at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The airline says it has gained government approval to begin flights between California and Hawaii, capping a long effort that was delayed by the government shutdown. The airline’s chief operating officer, Mike Van de Ven, told employees Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, that the Federal Aviation Administration granted the authorization. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

KAILUA-KONA — Southwest Airlines plans to announce its inaugural flights to Hawaii when it publishes its schedule in the coming days after the Federal Aviation Administration gave the airline approval to run flights between California and the islands.

The airline in a statement said teams are now finalizing plans to offer service to the state.

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In addition to the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu, flights also are expected to come into the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole as well as the Kahului Airport on Maui and Lihue Airport on Kauai.

Flights will run from four California airports: Oakland, San Diego, San Jose and Sacramento.

Southwest also announced its intention to offer interisland service.

The FAA said Wednesday it granted Southwest approval to begin flights between California and Hawaii, capping the airline’s effort to extend its reach 2,400 miles across the Pacific.

The Dallas-based airline’s chief operating officer, Mike Van de Ven, said Southwest will announce timing for selling tickets and beginning flights in the coming days.

The FAA will increase oversight of Southwest for the first six months, according to an agency spokesman, who added the additional monitoring is standard practice.

Southwest needed FAA certification of its ability to operate long, over-water flights with twin-engine jets where the options for emergency landings are few. In recent weeks Southwest operated several test flights with FAA personnel on board to monitor such things as navigation and communications.

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Southwest first announced plans to offer flights to Hawaii in 2017. Those flights were initially expected to be offered by the end of 2018, but were pushed back to 2019 after approval delays, as well as the federal government shutdown.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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